Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is almost a bible of sorts for the social order that has developed among those from the lower-middle to the lower-upper classes in America. Marketing and networking books, classes and seminars of all kinds are based on it’s principles. Comprised of directions for social interaction which inadvertently helped level the playing field for many equal rights groups by teaching people how treating others with respect, would profit themselves in business and social settings, it changed business etiquette. Carnegie was a marketing genius and he made compliments, listening, and acceptance, a standard part of the business world. On the surface this seems like a universally beneficial thing and a worthwhile change in the way we deal with people.
One effect of the Carnegie social order is the increased range of people and lifestyles that have become acceptable, respected and included. Working alongside the equal rights movements for women, racial minorities, the handicapped, and others, but working from a different angle. While sincere people were protesting and taking personal responsibility for the rights of others, the Carnegie method was changing the acceptable behaviors among those who didn’t care about, or even opposed equality. Outspoken opinions of any negative reaction to change once labeled to be inclusive, were not part of the accepted social order of making friends and influencing people. It was shown how limiting and foolish prejudice is and speaking from it or making business decisions based on it became less and less acceptable. The bottom line depended on your ability to appeal to the broadest audience, for the greatest potential for influence and in turn, at the base of it all, profit. You would benefit in career, finance, and status if you follow the social order, and be excluded if you did not.
But directly relating to wider acceptance and greater conformity to ever tightening social sensitivity, is the increased level of weirdness those seeking attention will go to in an effort to get the attention they crave, and the more easily offended they can proclaim to be by anything anyone else does or says. Eventually this business oriented life model turned into an almost ‘anything goes and is totally respectable’ narrative, where personal opinions were fine, as long as they were inclusive and affirming. The problem is some people just don’t want to be accepted, they have issues which need addressed. Coming from an unhealthy person, the level of oddity needed in order to raise any public eyebrows gets further and further from traditional standards. Those needing or wanting attention brought to their personal discomfort delve ever deeper into self destructive and demeaning behavior to capture the focus of an ever broader state of acceptance by the general populace. Association builds conformity and as more people accept more things, the more things become acceptable to people. It can be seen in any number of examples. Both the individual and society as a whole are brought further into depravity. What began as a simple go along to get along philosophy to win friends and influence people was flawed at it’s very core. It has self service as it’s motive and personal gain as it’s goal.
There is a basic but functional analogy for the nature of evil in the dynamics of temperature. Everything in the physical world is made up of atoms, the amount of vibrational activity of an atom determines it’s measurable temperature. The concept being absolute zero meaning no vibration at all, which is theoretically not achievable. Whether the opposing charges would hypothetically collapse into each other, repel beyond their bond, or cease to be, the result is essentially a return to nothingness. As vibration begins and speed increases, temperature increases. Thinking of God as the highest vibration, the highest temperature and good, beyond the capacity of the physical realm, gradually slowing vibration working its way down though all creation back to still nothingness, nothingness being evil, that which God did not create. (Evil being nothingness in conjunction with the theodicy of Augustine and many others.) Anything short of God is lacking fullest potential of vibration, among the lack lies the potential for evil. And like matter which due to thermodynamics normalizes temperature with the things surrounding it, we normalize ourselves to the behaviors and attitudes we are surrounded by.
(For the physicists; yes, on an atomic and molecular level there is more than one function of vibration, relating to density, effecting temperature, and the laws of thermodynamics relating to universal entropy potentially create and or regulate time. but I won’t get into all that, though it could also relate well to spiritual associations.)
Looking at the story of Job, every worldly thing was taken from him by Satan, leaving him with nothing in an attempt to drive him away from God. Then we see Satan offer every worldly thing to Christ, thereby restricting him to the limited material world. Job was shaken and angered, but still knew the greater truth of the eternal God. Christ knew the limits of the realm Satan controls, and of his own place above all creation.
The behaviors and associations driving individuals and society down the scale toward evil usually develop slowly, and often appear benign or even beneficial at their outset. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” These forces have the same simple but powerful game plan again and again. Offer the least possible of anything for service to evil, take away material comfort for service to God, and always approach us in the parts of ourselves that aren’t immersed in God. Evil is a lie, it is that which is not. It pretends to hold power, when it is actually weakness. It flatters, it brags, with selfish intention of drawing us away from God.
God’s correction often comes much quicker, and with overwhelming force. When the allowance of evil was more common than the pursuit of good, he flooded the earth in a single cataclysmic event to purge a world overwhelmed by sin. He sent his son to save us and his spirit to dwell with us. He gave us the individual in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit so we may be acclimated to his goodness, and be a light, a warming influence if you will, to the world around us.